Flash News : The Kann Collection – Art Basel Hong Kong – Art KARLSRUHE


The Kann Collection

A watercolour in light tones. On one side, Georges BRAQUE (1882-1963) drew a still life with grapes and, on the other, a beautiful nude woman lying down. This artwork bears the Kann inventory number 1116: seized in October 1940 by the intervention team of the Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), it was stored at the Jeu de Paume, which served as a sorting station for works of art intended for the large Nazi museum in Linz. The provenance of this piece alone recalls the turbulent history of the art collections of Jewish families dispossessed during the Second World War. It is therefore a small piece of history that Artcurial is putting up for sale on 22 February . The auction house will sell 175 lots valued at a total of $1.5 million, the last remnants of the mythical Alphonse Kann collection. Born in Vienna in 1870, he settled in Saint-Germain-en-Laye at a very young age. Called “the Prince of collectors,” he retired from business after barely thirty years and devoted himself to his collection, in an almost obsessive way: Chardin, Cézanne, art objects, ritual objects of tribal art, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, to name but a few. He loved all forms of art and all artists. The Artcurial catalogue reflects the diverse tastes of Alphonse Kann. In addition to this watercolour and another work by Braque, there is an oil on canvas by Jean-Baptiste DESHAYS DE COLLEVILLE (1729-1765) estimated at around $20,000, but also a magnificent man’s head made of Saxon stone from the 13th century , so one-dimensional that it could have been carved by Brancusi, and estimated at between $8,500 and $12,500, or a rare Bembe spoon from Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo, estimated at between $35,000 and $45,000. In 1938, Alphonse Kann moved to London. Two years later, his house was plundered by the Nazis. He only recovered a tiny part of his immense collection in 1947, a year before his death in England. His nephews inherited his artworks and objects, while his niece Hélène Kann-Bokanowski followed in the footsteps of her uncle, who had had a great influence on her from a young age. She became friends with many artists from whom she acquired works. Belonging to this collection, A Moonlit Street After Rainby John Atkinson GRIMSHAW (1836-1893) estimated at around $150,000, a sculpture by Jacques LIPCHITZ (1891-1973) estimated at $120,000 or the famous Tebessa Couple from 1929 by Maurice ESTEVE (1904-2001), which could well exceed its high estimate of $95,000. The collection of Alphonse Kann and his niece Hélène Kann-Bokanowski to be sold at Artcurial will undeniably give a fascinating insight into an eventful century of art collecting.

Art Basel Hong Kong, fifth edition

This art fair is a must for Asian collectors, it also attracts the major players in art from all over the world. The fifth edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong will take place from 23 to 25 March 2017. 47 years after its launch in Switzerland, it is considered the most important contemporary art fair in the world. Many exhibitions and cultural events are organised alongside the fair. The fair’s official website announces hundreds of cultural events that take place in the city throughout the week of the fair, while, at the Convention Centre, over 3,000 artists can be seen at the 187 galleries exhibiting. The Hong Kong edition is unique compared to its sister fairs in Switzerland (Basel) and America (Miami) as half of the exhibitors come from Greater Asia (including South-Pacific Asia). The other half are among the best known western “brands”, notably galleries such as Acquavella, Applicat-Prazan, Blum & Poe, Chantal Crousel, Mariann Goodman, Konig, Simon Lee, Lisson, Marlborough, Kamel Mennour, Victoria Miro, Nathalie Obadia, Perrotin, Thaddaeus Ropac and Pace. This 50/50 split between Asia and the West seems just right. Such diversity allows Asian art lovers to familiarise themselves with the truly global art world while also focusing on the Asian creative scene. If Hong Kong manages to showcase the whole art world, it is largely thanks to Art Basel.


The 14th edition of Art KARLSRUHE, the international Modern and Contemporary Art fair, will be held from 16th to 19th February. In the space of a few years, the fair has become one of the most important international artistic events because of its high attendances (50,000 visitors are expected) and its location, with its wealthy collectors and faithful, passionate public. The event is held in the Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre, one of the flagships of Baden-Württemberg. The space is vast (35,000 m2) as well as light, with a cleverly designed layout. Indeed, the 4 halls are divided into thematic areas with Hall 1 dedicated to photography and first editions. For the first time, a space is devoted to engraving, allowing galleries to exhibit unusual graphic work of their choice, enabling young collectors to acquire works by renowned artists at reasonable prices, ranging between €150 and €80,000. Hall 2 presents artworks mainly created after 1945, while Hall 3 focuses on the classics of Modern Art notably with German Expressionists such as Heckel or Kirchner, Matisse and the Fauves, Picasso and the Cubists… Hall 4 (ContemporaryArt 21) showcases more recent works from the 2000s. In addition to this, there are 19 marked out “Skulpturenplätze” in which sculpture takes on its full dimension. In addition to the 210 galleries exhibiting, the passion of private collectors and Franco-German relations will be honoured with a brand new exhibition of original works by Tomi Ungerer, from the prestigious Reinhold Würth collection. In addition, “Retour de Paris” presents more than 30 years of creativity from selected German artists who have obtained a scholarship to stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, another example of these cultural and fruitful exchanges.

To complete this vast programme, two prizes will be awarded: the KARLSRUHE art prize for the best “One Artist Show” among the 180 offered by the galleries. The winning gallery will be rewarded with the acquisition of works by the selected artist to the amount €15,000, which will be added to the collection of the Städtische Galerie. Also, the Hans Platschek Prize for Art and Writing will be awarded this year to Jonathan MEESE (1970), a multi-talented German artist, who, like Ungerer, but in a different way, uses language as his focal point. All these different activities, under the direction of curator Ewald Karl Schrade, contribute to the unique character of the KARLSRUHE Art Fair, which focuses on promoting and supporting gallery owners in their mission. This fair is deeply rooted in the cultural landscape of the city with the motto: “Discover. Love. Collect”.